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Human Images (c.1996-2005)



The artist embarks upon the Human Images, further developing his earlier preoccupation with the Presence series (1956-66). According to Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith: 'Human consciousness - or its acceptable functional equivalents in le Brocquy's terminology, i.e. spirit, psyche - is thus newly perceived in the recent paintings as more inextricably bound up than it hitherto appeared to be with a physical universe about which much has been discovered since he painted the early Presences. Yet, despite this intriguing development in his work, it is the absolute consistency of le Brocquy's core concerns over half a century - as reflected, among other things, in his perception of the enduring relevance to his art of specific pictorial compositions - that is most remarkable. It reminds us that the more we know the more aware we become of the limits of our knowledge, and of the need constantly to refine and revise what knowledge we have. Despite many major developments in philosophy and the physical sciences over the course of the twentieth century the so-called 'mind-body problem' appeared no nearer an absolute resolution at the end of that century than it did at its beginning. That alone is enough to ensure the continuing value of Louis le Brocquy's exemplary long-term commitment to the painterly investigation of 'the mysterious state of conscious being.' ...

The Human Image Paintings, Thomas M. Messer, Director Emeritus, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
The Human Image Paintings of Louis le Brocquy, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, Lecturer in the Department of Modern Irish (Language and Literature) at University College Dublin